SORRELL with hair of reddish-brown

Sorrell is a variation of the English place name Soar, which described the man who lived near the river Soar, which was name from Breton sar = to flow. Occasionally, Soar derived as a nickname for the man with reddish hair, from Anglo-Norman-French sor = chestnut (as in the color of dried leaves). Sor, Saur, Saura are cognates. Diminutive forms are Sorrel, Sorrell, Sorrill, Sorel, Soreau, Saurel, Soret, Sauret, Saurin, Saury .

The name has been variously spelled, and seems to have been merely a matter of preference as to the number of "r's" and "l's" necessary to complete the name.  We find recorded SORRELLS, SORREL, SORELL, SORRELLE, SORRAL, SOREL, SORALS, SORAL, SOWALL, SARLES, SEAWELL, etc.  However it is thought that the name was originally spelled SORREL, many early records tend to show this.

It is said that the family is of noble birth, holding the title of "Earl of Warren".  This line goes back through a long line of the old world nobility, including early Kings of Britian, and some of the most beloved, and some of the most hated Kings and Queens of Scotland and France.  In the Thornton Chart, you will find the royal lineage of the Earl of Warren going back to William the Conquerer in 1066.  The connection or descent of the SORRELLS family through the Fowkes brings so then a long line of distinguished royal ancestory.  At a period of about five hundred years elasped between the time of William the Conquerer and the earliest records of the SORRELLS family in American, it is evident that a mass of unrecorded history is still shrouded in the past.

The name has rather a French look and France perhaps was a first name of the family.  Many branches of the SORRELLS family claim to be of Scotch-Irish extraction.  The family moved on from Scotland to Ireland and here many marriages occurred. 

The SORRELLS name appears four times in 'Next of Kin,' a volume published many years ago in England, listing American families whose ancestors had left money and estates in England in trusts or in the banks.  The name may be found in the counties of Essex and Suffolk, England.

One tradition says the SORRELLS family fled from France during the persecution, and came by way of Norway.  Another is that there were three brothers (the three brothers crop up in almost every family) who came from England to America and settled in Maryland and Virginia, later going to North Carolina.  Some of the descendants of these immigrants pioneered into other states.  Now a few of them may be found in almost every state of the Union.  They are chiefly farmers and professional men, some have become noted newpaper men.  There have been a few who aspired to political honors, others have been preachers and merchants.  As a whole, they have been noted for the shrewdness, their brilliant intellects, their integrity, and their true worth.  The SORRELLS are, and always have been, valuable and most hightly respected citizens in the states in which they have lived.

The SORRELLS Coat of Arms has the Duel Coronet, showing descent from Kings and Queens, also indicating that the family is of great ________"  (Written by: Marion Dewoody Pettigrew, Pine Bluff, AR)

"The surname SORRELL and it's derivatives (Sorrel, Sorel, Sorrells, etc.) is of French origin.  In French it literally means reddish-brown, which in English translates to auburn.  Sorrell's accompanied William the Conqueror, later know as William I, in 1600 when he conquered Brittany and then installed himself as king.  As was custom, all surviving soldiers were given land (hence the axioms, "to the victor go the spoils," and the "spoils of war.").  When the Great Book, the book (s) which contained all the historical family lineages, coat of arms, etc., was begun, a Briton (aka. Englishman) wrote the descriptions of the people he was documenting in such a way that one could later determine precisely what their lineage was.  The SORRELL's are described as 'fair-skinned with reddish-brown hair'.    When Britain decided to colonize the Americas they went to the Great Book, determined exactly "who" was not of strict/pure Anglo origin, and taxed them into oblivion.  Once these people could not pay their taxes, they were given the choice of either debtor's prison or a 'free one-way trip" to the colonies!'


  1. Sorrel is the 45,352nd most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.000%; percentile is 85.135 [SourceCBN]
  2. Sorrel, Louisiana, United States [Place] is in St. Mary Parish; location is 29°53'20"N 91°37'0"W; elevation is 17 feet; was named in year 1970 [SourceGSP]


  1. Sorrell is the 3,698th most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.003%; percentile is 59.600 [SourceCBN]
  2. Sorrell, Missouri, United States [Place] is in Sullivan County; location is 40°12'54"N 93°1'13"W [SourceGSP]
  3. Sorrell, Virginia, United States [Place] is in Caroline County; location is 37°57'15"N 77°11'46"W; elevation is 180 feet [SourceGSP]


  1. Sorrells is the 5,083rd most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.002%; percentile is 63.428 [SourceCBN]
  2. Sorrells, Arkansas, United States [Place] is in Jefferson County; location is 34°9'39"N 92°3'57"W; elevation is 280 feet [SourceGSP]


  1. Sorrelle, Texas, United States [Place] is in Wharton County; location is 29°20'20"N 96°9'34"W [SourceGSP


  2. Sorrels is the 14,754th most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.001%; percentile is 75.115 [SourceCBN]
  3. Sorrels, Oklahoma, United States [Place] is in Le Flore County; location is 35°1'45"N 94°38'48"W; elevation is 506 feet [SourceGSP]

Occurance of the SORRELL surname: THIS DATABASE is an extract of an Office of National Statistics database, and contains a list of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002. The list contains almost 270,000 surnames, shared by 54.4 million people. The entire database contains over a million surnames, shared by 55.9 million people, but names shared by fewer that five people have been excluded from this list. The database was established in 1998, and births are continually added, but the 1.5 million deaths between 1998 and 2002 have not been weeded from the system. The database is also said to include a level of duplicate entries and misspelt surnames, as well as people currently living abroad and temporary visitors to England and Wales. However, experience suggests that multiplying the result for your surname by 0.93 will give a good idea of the living population for your surname, and multiplying by 3.5 will give the population since the start of parish registers in the 16th century.

Surname Count Ranking
 SORRELL  2020  =3661
Surname Count Ranking
Surname Count Ranking
 SORREL  5  =230412
Surname Count Ranking
 SOREL  11  =134717
Surname Count Ranking
 SORELL  14  =114673
Surname Count Ranking
Surname Count Ranking
Surname Count Ranking

To assist you in further understanding this information, see the following results on a more common surname:

Surname Count Ranking
 SMITH  652563  1
 JONES  538874  2
 WILLIAMS  380379  3
 TAYLOR  306296  4
 BROWN  291872  5
 DAVIES  279647  6
 EVANS  222580  7
 THOMAS  202773  8
 WILSON  201224  9
 JOHNSON  193260  10

Frequently Occurring Surnames From the                1990 United States Census

The Census Bureau receives numerous requests to supply information on name frequency. In an effort to comply with those requests, the Census Bureau has embarked on a names list project involving a tabulation of names from the 1990 Census. These files contain only the frequency of a given name, no specific individual information.

SORRELL 0.003 59.600 3698
SORRELLS 0.002 63.428 5083
SORREL 0.000 85.135 45352
SOREL 0.000 81.978 31092
SORELL 0.000 89.444 77902
SORELLS 0.000 86.566 54126
SORELLE 0.000 -
SORELS 0.000 - NA
SORRELS 0.001 75.115 14754


How To Read The Results: An example

If we searched for the last name, Moore, we would find that the name ranks 9th in terms of frequency. 5.312 percent of the sample population is covered by MOORE and the 8 names occurring more frequently than MOORE. The surname, MOORE, is possessed by 0.312 percent of our population sample.